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Chambéry (Municipality, Savoie, France)

Last modified: 2016-11-12 by ivan sache
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Flag of Chambéry - Image by Ivan Sache, 14 July 2000


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Presentation of Chambéry

The municipality of Chambéry (58,653 inhabitants in 2013; 2,099 ha) is located half distance (55 km) of Grenoble and Annecy.
Chambéry became the capital of the County of Savoy in 1232, which was erected to Duchy in 1391. After several French occupations, Duke Emmanuel-Philibert transfered in 1563 the capital of the Duchy to Turin (now in Piedmonte, Italy), which is located beyond the Alps mountains, and was therefore less exposed to French conquest. As a compensation, Chambéry was granted in 1559 a Senate constituted on the model of the French (local) parliaments.
Chambéry has always been an important town on the transalpine road between Lyon and Turin.

Ivan Sache, 14 July 2000


Flag of Chambéry

The flag of Chambéry is the Savoy cross (white on red) with a yellow five-pointed star in first quarter. It is a banner of the municipal arms.

Ivan Sache, 14 July 2000


Army badge with the arms of Chambéry

I recently found a metallic badge featuring a posthorn. A shield, topped with a spreading eagle is encircled in the posthorn curl.
There is a trademark ARTHUS BERTRAND PARIS DEPOSE (patented) on the reverse of the badge. Arthus Bertrand is still active in producing high quality pins and badges.
This is a uniform jacket badge of a local regiment since the shield reproduces the Savoy cross. A careful examination reveals more details: the shield is in fact the banner of arms of Chambéry, a star being added in canton. The badge must therefore belong to the Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins (BCA - Mountain Troops). The posthorn and the eagle are traditional emblems of the BCAs.
An even more careful examination shows that the badge has been manually "defaced" with a sharp iron tool. The badge owner carved a small cross of Lorraine above a V letter, for victory in the middle of the Savoy cross.
Unfortunately, I do not know anything about the origin of this particular badge. I can only infer it was "defaced" after the liberation of Savoy in 1945. It could also be hypothesized that the Lorraine cross was initially added when the badge owner joined the Resistance movements, which were very powerful and popular in Savoy, and added later the V after the liberation. It seems that the cross and the V have not been carved the same way.

All along the Alps mountains, the BCAs resisted in 1940 the Mussolinian troops, which entered France only with the support of their Nazi allies and without any military success. Mussolini had waited the shameful defeat of June 1940 before entering the war against France - as a reward, the Mussolinian troops occupied Savoy and County of Nice, until replaced by the Nazis after the fall of Mussolini. Comparatively, Italian occupation was rather mild.

Ivan Sache, 22 August 2000

It is the badge of the 13th Battalion of Chasseurs Alpins, one of the original alpine battalions of 1888. The shield is indeed the arms of Chambéry, which was the battalion's peace time garrison.
The V sounds like a personal addition; the battalion was reconstituted in 1944 from two units of the FFI, and so must have included some resistors in its ranks.
Of all the other battalions, only the short lived (1939-40) also had a coat of arms on its badge: the 93rd of 1939-40 included the arms of Savoy. This is not surprising, since it was formed at Chambéry, from reservists of the 13th.

Badges like this were introduced during the 1920s and 1930s. The badge discussed here is mid-forties in date, since in 1947, the Army introduced a sealed pattern number (nombre d'homologation) which was stamped onto the rear of each badge [and is not present on the badge discussed here].

Ian Sumner, 23 August 2000